Causes Of Blood Sugar Levels
Whilst the liver and muscles produce some glucose, most comes from the foods we eat. Food and drinks that are high in carbohydrates are most impactful on blood sugar level. What we eat provides us most of the nutrients our body needs and sometimes, does not need. That is not to say that food is a major cause of blood sugar level increasing or decreasing too dramatically.
Typically, if a person has health conditions or poor nutrition, this will lead to a spike or decline in blood sugar level. The causes differ from high to low blood sugar levels and are as follows:
Chart Of Normal Blood Sugar Levels For Adults With Diabetes Age Wise
The amount of glucose present in blood fluctuates during the day and at night. Our body maintains a level of blood glucose for metabolism. The normal sugar level in a healthy body is between 90 to 100 mg/dL. But sometimes, these blood sugar levels may go high or low due to various factors. Such high or low blood glucose levels are signs of health conditions that need/ require attention and blood glucose can be kept at healthy levels with various Diabetes Reversal Methods and medical attention. This article gives in-depth information about normal blood sugar levels chart for adults with diabetes according to age.
What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
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What Can I Expect During A Blood Glucose Test
You can expect the following during a venous glucose test, or blood draw:
- Youll sit in a chair, and a phlebotomist will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is usually in the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.
- Once theyve located a vein, theyll clean and disinfect the area.
- Theyll then insert a small needle into your vein to take a blood sample. This may feel like a small pinch.
- After they insert the needle, a small amount of blood will collect in a test tube.
- Once they have enough blood to test, theyll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop the bleeding.
- Finally, theyll place a bandage over the site, and youll be finished.
You can expect the following during a capillary blood glucose test :
- A healthcare provider will ask you which finger youd like them to use.
- Theyll disinfect your fingertip with an alcohol swab and prick it with a small needle called a lancet, which is usually contained within a small plastic device.
- Theyll squeeze your fingertip to form a drop of blood.
- Theyll place your finger/the drop of blood against a test strip thats inserted into a glucometer.
- After they have enough blood for the test, theyll give you a cotton ball or gauze to hold against your fingertip to stop the bleeding.
- The glucometer will show your blood glucose level within seconds.
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How To Raise Blood Sugar When Needed
Hypoglycemia, where your blood glucose is lower than 70 mg/dL, is a common problem for people with type 1 diabetes. Its important to know how to handle it when it happens. Hypoglycemia can be caused by a number of things, such as taking too much insulin, waiting too long before eating or not eating enough, and exercising a lot more than usual.
Resolving it might be as simple as eating something that can raise your blood glucose. But in severe cases, where your blood glucose dips below 55 mg/dL, this might not be enough.
If youre at risk of this, your health care provider might prescribe an injectable medication called glucagon to use in an emergency. You can use it yourself, or someone else can use it on you if youre not able to. You will then need to seek after the injection to make sure that your glucose levels make it back up to a safe level.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Be High
Many things can cause high blood sugar , including being sick, being stressed, eating more than planned, and not giving yourself enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term, serious health problems. Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Feeling very tired.
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Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
|Target Levels by Type|
*The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.
What Abnormal Results Mean
If you had a fasting blood glucose test:
- A level of 100 to 125 mg/dL means you have impaired fasting glucose, a type of prediabetes. This increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and you should consult with your provider.
- A level of 126 mg/dL or higher usually means you have diabetes.
If you had a random blood glucose test:
- A level of 200 mg/dL or higher often means you have diabetes.
- Your provider will order a fasting blood glucose, A1C test, or glucose tolerance test, depending on your random blood glucose test result.
- In someone who has diabetes, an abnormal result on the random blood glucose test may mean that the diabetes is not well controlled. Talk with your provider about your blood glucose goals if you have diabetes.
Other medical problems can also cause a higher-than-normal blood glucose level, including:
- Weight loss after weight loss surgery
- Vigorous exercise
Some medicines can raise or lower your blood glucose level. Before having the test, tell your provider about all the medicines you are taking.
For some thin young women, a fasting blood sugar level below 70 mg/dL may be normal.
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How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
How Can You Find Out If You Have Normal Blood Sugar Levels
There are a few different ways that you can test or keep track of your average blood sugar level. Some popular glucose monitoring methods include a continuous glucose monitor , an A1C test, a glucose meter, doing a fasting blood glucose test, or an oral glucose tolerance test. You can also get your ketones tested, which usually appear in the urine of Type 1 diabetes patients.
Your healthcare provider will analyze your test results, and let you know the best course of action if theyÃ¢re not in the normal range. This may include diabetes medications like metformin or lifestyle changes.
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Blood Sugar Level Charts For Those With Diabetes
Normal blood sugar levels, for those with diabetes, will vary depending on someones age and the time of day. For example, when fasting, blood sugar levels are often in the target goal range. The type of food eaten will impact blood sugar levels in different ways. A meal with a lot of carbohydrates will raise blood sugar quicker than a meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and fat . Blood sugar will rise after a meal, but will start to return to normal levels in several hours.
Lets take a look at what blood sugar levels should be, in those with diabetes, based on their age.
Healthy Normal Sugar Levels In Diabetic Adults
Healthy diabetic adults should maintain a normal sugar level of 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL after 2 hours of meals. Pregnant women should maintain a blood glucose level of 95-140 mg/dL to avoid complications. This can be done with the right habits in place that help you maintain your sugar level without getting stressed about it.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Getting professional medical advice from a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist is the best way to learn more about whether your blood sugar levels are where they should be. Not getting proper treatment for low or high blood sugar levels can be serious and lead to health complications, especially for those with diabetes. Diabetes complications include nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, or heart attacks.
If you see a healthcare provider about your blood sugar levels, be prepared to answer questions about risk factors like what you eat, how much you exercise, and about your family history. Some healthcare providers may want to take a blood sample to test your blood sugar levels. They may also order an A1C test, which is a blood test that measures blood sugar control over three months. You may have to fast eight hours beforehand to get accurate test results, so its always a good idea to check before your appointment. Your healthcare provider can create a diabetes treatment plan if you are prediabetic or have diabetes.
Be sure your treatment plan includes instructions on when you would need to seek emergency medical care. Emergency rooms are equipped to handle high blood sugar levels and can administer treatments like insulin therapy and fluid or electrolyte replacement.
Tests And Diagnosis For Prediabetes
Your doctor will do at least one of these tests:
Fasting plasma glucose test. You wonât eat for 8 hours, and then a technician will take your blood to test the sugar levels. The results are:
- Normal if your blood sugar is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter
- Prediabetes if your blood sugar is 100 to 125 mg/dL
- Diabetes if your blood sugar is 126 mg/dL or higher
Oral glucose tolerance test. First, you’ll have a fasting plasma glucose test. Then, you’ll drink something sugary. Two hours after that, a technician will take and test more blood. The results are:
- Normal if your blood sugar is less than 140 mg/dL after the second test
- Prediabetes if your blood sugar is 140 to 199 mg/dL after the second test
- Diabetes if your blood sugar is 200 mg/dL or higher after the second test
Hemoglobin A1c test. This blood test shows your average blood sugar levels for the past 2 to 3 months. Doctors give it to people who have diabetes to see if their blood sugar levels are under control. They can also use it to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes. The results are:
- Normal if itâs 5.6% or less
- Prediabetes if itâs 5.7 to 6.4%
- Diabetes if itâs 6.5% or above
You may need to take the test again to confirm the results.
If You Have An Acute Illness
Acute illnesses such as infections can affect your ability to control diabetes and can lead to serious diabetic complications, such as ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma and severe dehydration. Your health care provider will give you instructions about how to care for diabetes during acute illnesses, and you can learn to avoid acute complications through patient education.
Blood Sugar Levels And Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may be wondering what your blood glucose should be. Hopefully your doctor, nurse practitioner, physicians assistant or whoever diagnosed you has given you answers to that question. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is given glucose goals. Or in some cases, it may have been a long time ago, and theyve since been forgotten. No worries well go over all that!
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Is A1c Supposed To Be The Same As My Blood Sugar Average
A1C measures your average blood sugar over the past 3 months.
You can have your A1C measured with a blood draw in your doctors office or lab. Some doctors can also perform a fingerstick blood test to check your A1C level.
When sugar enters your bloodstream, it binds to a protein called hemoglobin. People with high blood sugar have a higher percentage of the hemoglobin protein coated with sugar. Your A1C result will give you an indication of what percentage of your hemoglobin is bound to sugar.
- Standard : Less than 5.7%
- Prediabetes: 5.7% to 6.5%
- Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
In general, the ADA and other clinical guidelines for people with diabetes is that you should work closely with your diabetes care team to determine whats best for your A1C goal. Generally, clinicians advise for an A1C of being safely 7.0%, though that can vary depending on ones individual care plan.
Its important to keep in mind that A1C levels do not reflect all of the nuances of ones diabetes management, meaning it doesnt always reflect your glucose variability, meaning that A1C doesnt offer insight into high or low blood sugars, and it can be manipulated if your blood sugars fluctuate regularly.
As a result, many diabetes professionals have moved away from considering the A1C the sole gold standard for someones diabetes management. Instead, they use that A1C in addition to time in range figures, showing how often your glucose levels are in your individualized target range.
Symptoms Of High Sugar Level
When blood sugar levels are high above the normal > 180mg/dL, it can be again dangerous and requires medical attention. This condition, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when the body has insulin deficiency or cannot use it properly.
Some of the common symptoms of high blood sugar levels are:
If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening disease. Moreover, it can also cause heart complications, kidney-related problems, and liver disorders.
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The Danger Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can become a lot more dangerous more quickly. Hypoglycemia, if left untreated, can quickly result in diabetic coma and death.
Low blood sugars will not lead to permanent complications in most cases but cause frequent, short-term complications in the form of being physically unable to function when experiencing a low. They require fast-acting glucose as treatment.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can hit different people at different times, and some people may not feel their low blood sugars at all , which can be very dangerous.
Continuous glucose monitoring systems and diabetes alert dogs can help people detect their lows earlier, before they become extremely dangerous.
Hypo unawareness occurs in about 40% of people with type 1 diabetes, and less frequently in people with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, one study showed that the average person with type 1 diabetes experiences two episodes of low blood sugar per week!
Low blood sugars can happen for many reasons, all of which result from too much insulin in the bloodstream and not enough glucose for the body to function properly.
Reasons can be anything from taking too much insulin for food, to accidentally over-bolusing with an insulin pump, to not finishing a meal, to drinking alcohol in excess, or even after physical exertion and exercise while not reducing basal insulin settings appropriately.
What Is A Blood Glucose Test
A blood glucose test is a blood test that mainly screens for diabetes by measuring the level of glucose in your blood.
There are two main types of blood glucose tests:
- Capillary blood glucose test: A healthcare professional collects a drop of blood usually from a fingertip prick. These tests involve a test strip and glucose meter , which show your blood sugar level within seconds.
- Venous blood glucose test: A phlebotomist collects a sample of blood from a vein . These glucose tests are usually part of a blood panel, such as a basic metabolic panel. The provider will send the samples to a lab. There, a medical laboratory scientist will prepare your samples and perform the test on machines known as analyzers.
Venous blood glucose tests are generally more accurate than capillary blood glucose tests.
Healthcare providers often order fasting blood glucose tests to screen for diabetes. Since eating food affects blood sugar, fasting blood glucose tests show a more accurate picture of your baseline blood sugar.
Theres also at-home blood sugar testing for people who have diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes especially need to monitor their blood sugar multiple times a day to effectively manage the condition. Continuous glucose monitoring devices are another option for this.
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